Monday 27 January 2020

Johnny Sexton on course to be fit for Six Nations opener as Leo Cullen allays fears over James Ryan

Johnny Sexton returned to Leinster training this week. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Johnny Sexton returned to Leinster training this week. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leo Cullen has confirmed that Johnny Sexton is back running in training and remains on target to be fit for the start of the Six Nations.

Since Sexton damaged knee ligaments against Northampton on December 7, he has been pushing hard to ensure that he is able to feature against Scotland February 1.

Earlier this week, Stuart Lancaster ruled out any possibility of the out-half featuring in Leinster's final Champions Cup pool game in Treviso next weekend, and while Cullen reiterated that, the head coach was bullish about Sexton's recovery.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Andy Farrell will name his first Ireland squad next week and Sexton looks set to be included.

"Yeah, that's exactly what it looks like at this stage,” Cullen said this afternoon, ahead of Leinster's Champions Cup clash against Lyon at the RDS on Sunday.

“He is back running now himself and is looking pretty good. Next week is probably a little bit too soon, but he is making good progress."

James Ryan picked up a calf injury in last weekend's win over Connacht and will not be risked in the Lyon game.

Cullen did however, allay any fears surrounding the Ireland lock's fitness, as he revealed that Ryan should return against Benetton on Saturday week.

“He is okay – he will be back in the mix, we hope, next week,” Cullen added.

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